Several years ago, at the beginning of 2016, on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe forums, there was a thread about driverless cars. All the skeptics were going on about how great it was going to be, how it will be here in two years, five years at the most, how we will overcome all the “small” problems by 2017, maybe 2019 at the latest, blah, blah. And at the time, I had told them, well, you may want to hold on a while, its not quite as easy as you think. And how was that met? By a barrage of insults, of you ridiculous troll, what do you know about anything, if you wouldn’t be so ignorant and just learn, can we just block this guy moderator, on and on it went… (typical skeptic fare).
That thread was viewed 117,000 times. There was exactly ONE person who was adamant that their time frames were wrong, that we still have a long way to go. And boy, they sure didn’t like that. Looking back now at the litany of nonsense the skeptics spewed kind of makes me laugh now. Its the same nonsense you see here at TSZ every day. Now, in 2020, some of the most ardent skeptic cheerleaders have reluctantly finally started to admit, ok, yea, you was right, it was a a lot harder than we all said.
The biggest news of this week for the “conversation” this blog is in some small way a part of will likely be the discussion between Drs. Michael Behe and S. Joshua Swamidass in Texas. The answer for both men to the polemical question above is not “God w/out evolution”, but rather “God with evolution,” iow both God and evolution. So what else important is there left for them to disagree about? http://www.veritas.org/location/texas-a-m-university/
For Behe, “evolution” has a narrower meaning than it does for Swamidass. One key question, that likely won’t be asked, is: how wide is Swamidass’ meaning of “evolution” and where does it stop (i.e. what doesn’t ‘evolve’)? Is Swamidass, who somewhat incredulously claims to be neither a creationist nor an evolutionist, actually both? One of the biggest challenges unaddressed still by Swamidass regarding his evolutionism will be met when he starts describing or explaining the “limits of evolutionary theories”, rather than only “the great possibilities of evolutionary theories”, now as we live in a post-Darwinian, extended synthesis scenario.
We may nevertheless hope for some reconciliation, or even a moment or two of peace amidst an artificial storm in the USA involving “Intelligent Design”, evolution, and creationism. Those moments will likely constitute a rare pause in their otherwise contrary apologetics approaches, both taking a “public understanding of science” attitude of pedagogical communication to the stage. We may thus, purely on the communications front, simply get either a parody of abstract intellectualism driven by “religious” or “quasi-religious” agendas, or more positively, a few simple concessions of common ground that shouldn’t be too difficult for either of them to find, or to make towards each other.
We humans are sentient beings. By some means or other, our species has ended up with, at least in our own opinion, with cognitive abilities that separate sharply from our closest living relatives, chimps and bonobos, with whom we share 99% of our genes. We have made huge advances in knowledge which we can store, share and use in scientific research, cultural development, building infrastructure, exploration, travel, transport. This huge explosion in cultural evolution needed and may be driven by that exceptional intelligence. Is there any limit to what we can achieve? I say there is.
In his recent video Michael Behe explains the reasons for his acceptance of common descent.
Do you find it confusing?
Most members of the Discovery Institute find the idea of common descent lacking. Behe, ‘for the sake of the argument’ , is willing to accept it and, instead, focus on the mechanism of Darwinian evolution, natural selection and random mutations, as insufficient to explain evolution.
Not long ago in a comment here, I posted a short version of definitions involving the Discovery Institute’s “Intelligent Design” (ID) paradigm, hypothesis, movement, theory, inference, policy, heuristic, or whatever one wants to call it, depending on which person they’re speaking with. This was done because the person in the conversation I was responding to appeared to be, to me at least, quite obviously conflating two meanings into one term (thing & theory). And he didn’t seem to realize that he was doing it. (Aside: there appear to be multiple reasons why people tempted by ideological Intelligent Designism [IDism] or repelled by it, may feel they need to intentionally conflate definitions of ID.) I wondered what might be the issue with what was merely an attempt to lay out simple definitions, for mutual benefit towards clearer communications, or ‘operations’ as some people here like to call it.
Within days, to my surprise, I discovered the exact same thing in a long exchange with a Discovery Institute () Fellow on a social media platform. This person too conflated two meanings into one. Why also is that? And this person wanted to equivocate over whether or not there even is a “movement” at play, before finally conceding that yes, indeed, there is = the IDM based at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, USA. The conversation reminded me of previous ones at Uncommon Descent & BioLogos with Eddie, now of Peaceful Science and Potiphar, who only begrudgingly, after listing off a number of ways that this “Movement” could only properly or ‘officially’ be spoken about, according to his somewhat “philosophistic” definition of “Intelligent Design theory” (IDT), conceded the point of there being a “Movement”, with all of DI-CSC’s Fellows admitted as members.
In Section 4 of their article, Nemati and Holloway claim to have identified an error in a post of mine. They do not cite the post, but instead name me, and link to the homepage of The Skeptical Zone. Thus there can be no question as to whether the authors regard technical material that I post here as worthy of a response in Bio-Complexity. (A year earlier, George Montañez modified a Bio-Complexity article, adding information that I supplied in precisely the post that Nemati and Holloway address.) Interacting with me at TSZ, a month ago, Eric Holloway acknowledged error in an equation that I had told him was wrong, expressed interest in seeing the next part of my review, and said, “If there is a fundamental flaw in the second half, as you claim, then I’ll retract it if it is unfixable.” I subsequently put a great deal of work into “The Old Switcheroo,” trying to anticipate all of the ways in which Holloway might wiggle out of acknowledging his errors. Evidently I left him no avenue of escape, given that he now refuses to engage at all, and insists that I submit my criticisms to Bio-Complexity. Continue reading →
An Indian scientist has purportedly discovered HIV inserted into the coronavirus. If true, this is pretty conclusive evidence the virus is humanly engineered, i.e. intelligently designed.
So, herein lies the conundrum. According to popular imagination, ID is both bad science and false (remember, good science is the falsifiable sort ;). If true, then it should not be possible to detect intelligent intervention in the genetic code.
Yet, this recent news item purports to be exactly that: identification of intelligent intervention in the genetic code.
Please explain this to me like I am 5: how can ID be both bad science and false, yet at the same time it is possible to identify intelligent intervention in the genetic code? If we can do so for the recent past, why can’t we do the same for the distant past?
David Nemati and Eric Holloway, “Expected Algorithmic Specified Complexity.” Bio-Complexity 2019 (2):1-10. doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2019.2. Editor: William Basener. Editor-in-Chief: Robert J. Marks II.
Eric Holloway has littered cyberspace with claims, arrived at by faulty reasoning, that the “laws of information conservation (nongrowth)” in data processing hold for algorithmic specified complexity as for algorithmic mutual information. It is essential to understand that there are infinitely many measures of algorithmic specified complexity. Nemati and Holloway would have us believe that each of them is a quantification of the meaningful information in binary strings, i.e., finite sequences of 0s and 1s. If Holloway’s claims were correct, then there would be a limit on the increase in algorithmic specified complexity resulting from execution of a computer program (itself a string). Whichever one of the measures were applied, the difference in algorithmic specified complexity of the string output by the process and the string input to the process would be at most the program length plus a constant. It would follow, more generally, that an approximate upper bound on the difference in algorithmic specified complexity of strings and is the length of the shortest program that outputs on input of Of course, the measure must be the same for both strings. Otherwise it would be absurd to speak of (non-)conservation of a quantity of algorithmic specified complexity. Continue reading →
A psychiatrist in Toronto, Canada, in defense of swamidass’ fellow secular methodological naturalist and atheist partner in provocation over at PS, Nathan Lents (Human Errors), just said something I find quite curious, in case he is serious in his claim. It had appeared to me that this person who said it promotes ideological evolutionism. Yet this claim establishes at least some kind of important knowledge ‘boundary’ or ‘limit’ that ‘evolutionary’ thinking does not and cannot cross by definition. Perhaps he will come here to try to explain his terms in an effort to help clarify this difficulty.
This is a sly way to demonstrate how unlikely evolutionism is on a probability curve.when on thinks of the millions (billions?) of segregated populations in biology(species) then it should be a high, or respectable percentage, are evolving as we speak to create new populations with new bodyplans to survive in some niche. By high I mean millions, with a allowance for mere hundreds of thousands. YET I am confident there is none evolving today. further i suspect evolutionists would say there is none evolving today. WHY? If not today what about yesterday or 300 years ago? Why couldn’t creationists say its not happening today because it never happened? Its accurate sampling of todays non evolution for predicting none in the past!
i think the only hope (hope?) is if evolutionism said , under pE influence, that all biology today is in the stasis stage and just waiting for a sudden need to change, qickly done, then stasis again. Yet why would it be that stasis has been reached so perfectly today relative to the enormous claim of the need in the past for evolutionism?
Anyways i think creationists have a good point here but willing to be corrected.
In this comment colewd says: “Let’s start with this overview.”
An “overview” that according to this tool contains 187153 words.
Where those words according to this tool will take over 15 hours to read.
15 hours for an “overview”. 15 hours.
If only there was some way to take a sprawling set of claims and refine them down into a core that could then be reviewed by others and feedback given until it is a reasonable size (typically 3,000 to 10,000 words on the average scientific paper) where all claims have been tested by other experts and errors removed.
It seems to be it’s a strategy. Never get pinned down on anything too specific and you never have to be wrong. Hence the sprawl.
colewd, do you seriously expect people to spend 15 hours reading an “overview”? How long is the main argument? A million or two words?
As shown repeatedly, “Nothing in Evolution Makes Sense. Period.” Not natural selection, gradualism, human evolution, UCD, tree of life, etc. And just to confirm, let’s look at another one of the nonsensical concepts of “evolution”.
As 2020 both cools down in temperature and heats up in rhetoric, here is a response to S. Joshua Swamidass’ recent book that deserves more air time given how a few evangelical Protestant theologians and apologists are expressing surprised praise at it, calling it a ‘game changer’ because of ‘genealogy’ vs. ‘genetics’. I would consider it a ‘game changer’ only in a borrowed or catch-up sense of that term, given Swamidass’ YECist+ audience. Any thoughts here on this critical review of the book by a fellow evangelical active at BioLogos?
From what I’ve read so far, I do not see that Swamidass “makes God a monster” in the book. That rather appears to be what comes from Johnson’s hermeneutics, rather than Swamidass’ intentions or expressions. BioLogos was similarly confused, and hadn’t read Kemp, much like Swamidass (that is, until he finally did). Swamidass has previously written about dungeons & suffering, which perhaps by some people may be mistaken as ‘monstrous’. It would be more appropriate and charitable to say, ‘he knows not what he does’ by opening this rift. Thus, he speaks about “what it means to be human?” as a distant (methodological) naturalist, with an important background personal concern involving local fellow YECists and activistic sociology behind the book’s publication (e.g. choice of publishing house).
The end of the year and the imminent arrival of the new decade made me wonder when exactly Dr Liddle set this blog up. I see it was in (or at least prior to) August, 2011. Lizzie put up her first opening post Where does information come from?here. You can tell it’s the first because the link is to “hello_world”, the example post that comes with the WordPress package. UD addicts may like to follow this link to exchanges between Lizzie and the charming Upright Biped that may have had some part in the birth of TSZ. So TSZ is well on the way to it’s first decade – a remarkable achievement considering Lizzie has not actively participated here for some years.